Food & Drink

Montreal's 10 Most Iconic Meals

Published On 02/12/2014 Published On 02/12/2014
Katherine Sehl

Montreal has produced a lot of icons (William Shatner!) many of whom are no stranger to good food (William Shatner!), because this town has so much iconic food of its own -- and it’s these 10 restaurants in particular that’ve been shaping Montreal’s culinary landscape (and potbelly-muffin-topped denizens) for decades. If you haven’t knocked all 10 of these off your list yet, then you have some business to attend to...

Thrillist/Katherine Sehl

Beauty’s Special

Beauty's (address and info)
Mile End
It really doesn’t get anymore special than Beauty’s blue-leather lined booths, Hymie Sckolnick’s old-fashioned good looks, and a bagel sandwich stuffed with a generous amount of lox, dollops of cream cheese, and tomato and onion slices.

Thrillist/Katherine Sehl

Dic Ann’s Burger

Dic Ann's Hamburgers (address and info)
Multiple locations
Dominic “Dic” Potenza and Ann Collecchia have pretty much single-handedly (err, quadruple handedly?) made burgers a thing on the Montreal food scene. And they’ve managed to do so with the most unconventional flimsy little burger you’ll ever have. That special sauce will keep you coming back for quadruples.

Wikimedia Commons

Wilensky Special 

Wilensky's (address and info)
Mile End
There are bologna sandwiches, and then there’s the Wilensky special. It’s hard to say why the simple formula of five slices of salami, a slice of bologna, an optional slice of swiss, and a slather of mustard on a vintage-grilled Kaiser is so extraordinary, but it is. And it has been for 80+ years. 

Thrillist/Katherine Sehl


Moishes (address and info)
The Main
Dinner at Moishes is the stuff that Francis Ford Coppola’s food dreams are made of -- in fact Godfather/food lover Marlon Brando has even been said to have polished off a few beef slabs here in his day. But really for anybody, one of their gigantic, perfectly cooked rib eye steaks is an offer you can't refuse.

Wikimedia Commons

Schwartz’s Special 

Schwartz's Deli (address and info)
The Main
Schwartz’s might be Montreal’s most famous export, followed closely by its smoked-meat-loving co-owner, Celine Dion -- and it routinely turns traveling Americans into border smugglers.


Foie Gras Poutine

Au Pied de Cochon (address and info)
Scoring a coveted table at Martin Picard’s meaty resto is pretty much on every Montrealer’s bucket list, not to mention those in the food-loving world. The infamous foie gras poutine is Montreal decadence at its very pinnacle.

Joe Beef

Foie Gras Double Down

Joe Beef (address and info)
Little Burgundy
One of the best trends on Montreal’s fine dining scene is taking an already gut-busting fast-food dish and slapping foie gras on top of it. Enter Joe Beef and the Foie Gras Double Down: cheddar and aioli stuffed between two slabs of foie gras breaded with potato chips, deep fried and then drizzled with maple syrup. Yes, you are now fatter just from having read that. 

St. Viateur Bagel

The Bagels 

St. Viateur Bagel (address and info)
Mile End
Simply the best bagels in the world. And since they’re so in demand, you couldn’t order a stale – nay, even a day-old bagel -- even if you wanted to.

Thrillist/Katherine Sehl

Orange Julep

Gibeau Orange Julep (address and info)
Whether it’s the mysterious frothiness (the result of added egg whites, some speculate), the giant orange, or the rickety old and kind of creepy pipes they chug your drink from, you really can’t find a beverage in Montreal more classic than the good old Orange Julep.

Thrillist/Katherine Sehl


Decarie Hot Dog (address and info)
Decarie’s famous steamé hot dog knows no rivals other than the side order of fries that comes with it, which more than a few have referred to as the best in town. Cayenne pepper: yes. Ketchup: no, you damn heathen.

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Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Moishes 3961 boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, H2W 1Y4

Moishes Steakhouse was founded in 1938 by Moishe Lighter, a Romanian immigrant. The restaurant-- a hybrid Jewish deli and steak house-- remains a fixture of "The Main" neighborhood of Montreal today with its famous charcoal-broiled bone-in filet mignon, among other meaty offerings.

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2. Beauty's 93 Ave du Mont-Royal Ouest, Montréal, H2T 2S5 (Plateau)

This is the perfect diner to stop in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, offering daily specials and classics that have earned them quite the acclaim.

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3. Dic Ann's Hamburgers 10910 Boul. Pie-IX, Montreal, H1M 1S8

Dic Ann's Hamburgers holds two world records for the number of hamburgers and cheeseburgers served in an hour -- impressive, but not as impressive as the burger itself! A flattened patty soaked in their secret sauce is the place's specialty, and with over 15 locations across Canada, you can get it nearly anywhere in the country.

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4. Wilensky's 34 Ave Fairmount Ouest, Montréal, H2T 2M1 (Plateau)

Think old-school -- like, ring-up cash register and old-fashioned soda fountain old-school. Wilensky's opened in 1932, and their "Wilensky's Special" -- a deliciously simple grilled sandwich with all-beef salami, all-beef baloney, and a hint of mustard -- has been a solid local favorite ever since.

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5. Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen 3895 boul. Saint-Laurent, Montréal, H2W 1X9

Montreal is known for its smoked meats, and Schwartz's Deli has some of the best in the city. Order a sandwich -- literally any sandwich -- and prepare for your taste buds to explode from the deliciousness.

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6. Au Pied de Cochon 536 Ave Duluth Est, Montréal, H2L 1A9

Dining at “the foot of the pig” ("Au pied de cochon") is a Montréal must, as Chef Martin Picard has created a temple for all things meaty, decadent, and over-the-top (read: poutine topped with foie gras!). While ultra-luxe ingredients like red wine chutney and pig's trotters are a common theme here, their application to low-brow foods is what sets this bustling restaurant apart. The price tag might not match the casual atmosphere, but exaggerated indulgences like pan seared foie gras with goat cheese and raspberries on a brioche will blind you to dollar signs.

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7. Joe Beef 2491 rue Notre-Dame O, Montreal, H3J 1N6

An ode to Charles "Joe-Beef" McKiernan, a 19th century innkeeper and Montreal working-class hero, this resto serves up Quebecois classics like sausages, hot smoked salmon, and 18oz steaks (dubbed the "Monsieur's portion" on the menu) in the heart of Little Burgundy.

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8. St. Viateur Bagel 263 rue Saint-Viateur Ouest, Montréal, H2V 1Y1 (Mile End)

Open since 1957, St. Viateur has become famous for its Montreal-style bagels that are sweeter, smaller, and less doughy than their brash New York brethren. The secret? The hand-rolled bagels are boiled in honey water before baking in a wood-fired oven. The bakery is in lifelong competition with nearby Fairmount Bagel, and the two share a history worthy of Shakespearean drama: the man who opened St. Viateur partnered with Fairmount's owner's son to do so. Carb-fueled feud aside, St. Viateur's bagels have a distinct flavor that doesn't restrict them simply to breakfast -- the flagship Mile End location is open 24 hours, seven days a week.

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9. Gibeau Orange Julep 7700 boul. Décarie, Montréal, H4P 2H4

You'll know this hot dog joint when you see it. It's located inside a GIANT ORANGE. They do classic steamed hot dogs served with coleslaw, onions, mustard, and relish.

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10. Decarie Hot Dog 953 Decarie Boul , Saint-Laurent, H4L 3M3

This hole-in-the-wall hot dog joint serves up some of the best dogs, French fries, and poutine in Montreal. Just don't expect to sit down... as there isn't much room.



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